How to format your book (with free templates)

Formatting a book CAN be a huge pain… it took me three months of avoidance before I finally bought a program and learned how to design my own ebooks. And even though I can do it pretty well now, it’s still one of my least favorite things to do (I usually outsource it). If you’re just publishing one book, I recommend hiring someone to help with formatting, it’ll save you tons of time and effort.

But if you plan to be a career author and have lots of books to write and publish, book formatting is a useful skill (it can even be a side-income: I have lots of author friends who supplement their book sales with formatting services).

I’ve written LOTS of free guides to book formatting on this site, so this page will be a super brief introduction to getting started.

1. First, watch this video introduction to book formatting:

 

Then read this post on book formatting basics – it’ll help you understand setting up the right page size, margins and fonts for your book.

2. Look through the book formatting examples in the gallery page to get a sense of what you like.

3. After that, you can start watching the in-depth video tutorials to formatting your book in Microsoft Word or InDesign.

Formatting your book correctly, and including some specific pages like a title page or letter from the author, can boost trust and credibility. Once your book is ready, you can save it as a PDF and upload it to Createspace or Lightning Source.

4. Finally, convert your books to ebook formats (mobi and epub) – you can use my free ebook generator tool. With ebooks, you want to keep things clean and simple, as it’s easy to “break” the ebook by adding too many fonts or images.

 

Free formatting templates

Don’t forget to sign up for the free package of templates – if you’re doing it yourself, they should save time, and my detailed video tutorials will help you learn how to DIY. It is possible to learn to do this yourself, and it will give you much greater control and confidence in your book if you can make changes yourself without relying on a designer. However, if you can afford it, book formatting is one of the easiest things to outsource cheaply, so it may be worth finding a professional (so you can concentrate on your writing).

Book formatting templates for CreatespaceBook formatting templates for Lightning Source

 

PS. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll love Vellum, which makes it easy to design beautiful ebooks.

 
About The Author

Derek Murphy

I'm a location independent book designer (and book marketing genius) working on my PhD in Literature and shopping for a castle to use as a writer's paradise. I write non-fiction and YA.

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